Supt. Smith announces elementary schedule changes

Supt. Smith announces elementary schedule changes

NORTH PROVIDENCE - School days for local elementary school students will be 17 minutes longer during the 2013-2014 year that starts next Tuesday, Aug. 27.

Supt. Melinda Smith told The Breeze that union members agreed last Thursday to a schedule that starts the school day five minutes earlier, at 8:55 a.m. instead of 9 a.m., and ends it 12 minutes later, 3:12 p.m. instead of 3 p.m.

The changes bring all elementary schools up to the required 330 minutes for each school day.

The start and end times for North Providence High School and the two middle schools will stay the same in the coming year.

Smith doesn't believe the revised schedule will cause any great inconvenience for parents. The new hours have long been needed as North Providence schools have come up short of the number of education minutes required by the Rhode Island Department of Education.

"It gives us the additional minutes we needed to be in compliance," she said.

Some parents complained on social media about the new schedule and the short notice given for it, but Smith said she had to wait until the added minutes were finalized before announcing the change.

Smith said she "can't imagine" that the new schedule will put an extra burden on parents. Any who do take issue with it have access to three sites in town that provide care before and after school and offer transfer bus service.

Regardless of any issues parents might have with the changes, said Smith, school officials have no choice in the matter in an era when minutes spent in recess no longer count toward instructional time.

"We have to be in compliance," she said.